Esther Okade: The Youngest African In College


I have come across children who are weirdly smart for their age. Esther just added to the list if not topping it. Esther Okade is a UK-based Nigerian who has become famous not for her Barbie dolls or candies but for her un-foretold mathematical skills. Whoever said we didn’t know our way around the book? Okade is adding to the list of African academicians to watch out for. Make no mistake about this, Esther is a 10-year-old.

Esther is a normal, healthy child whose unusual flair for mathematics is rare and surpasses the logical understanding. I mean, how could a 10-year-old do that? Enroll in college? Where I come from you’ll have to be in your late teens or early twenties, but this African child has beat the construct. After series of test and exercises, Esther has enrolled into the Open University in the UK, though she would be studying from home. Presently, she is the youngest university undergraduate in the institution.


I think some people are just born like that, it’s like their own talent. It’s common to come see 5-8 year olds who have daunting singing or dancing talents. Okade is no different but comprehending the compatibility of her aptitude and mental capacity as a 10-year-old and the level of mathematics that she does, is just weird, utterly weird. The young genius hopes to own a bank, do her PhD once she is through with her maths degree and of course come out with a first class. One would think that her parents were putting her up to this, but it appears they are the ones slowing her down, in the sense that Esther says that she had wanted to start her college education at 7 but her mother delayed it till she was 10. However, Esther’s parents are a model of what the modern-day African parent should be, they are absolutely supportive and serve as a source of encouragement for Esther. With a support system as this, why will Esther not confidently go for her dreams. It’s so amazing, many children that I know do not always do well with mathematics when they start getting complicated but in Esther’s words, “It’s so interesting. It has the type of maths I love. It’s real maths-  theories, complex numbers, all that type of stuff…”.

When you hear a ten tear old say something like this:

“I want to finish the course in two years. Then I’m going to do my PhD in financial maths when I’m 13. I want to have my own bank by the time I’m 15 because I like numbers and I like people and banking is a great way to help people.”

Basically you get sweetly patronizing and tag it as one of those sweet kiddie moments, but with the rate this 10-year-old genius is going, achieving just what she says might really not be one of those things children say. Esther is set and more than capable of achieving just that.


The Okade family could be said to be lovers of education. While Esther is on another project of authoring the ‘Yummy Yummy’ Algebra workbooks for children; her brother Isaiah is sitting for his A-level at age 6; and their parents are working on a foundation and are in the process of building a nursery and primary school in Nigeria’s Delta region, to accommodate about 2,000 to 2,500 students, some of whom will be on scholarships. For the curriculum, the couple say they will employ unconventional methods for their school, they hope to emulate the teaching methods that worked for their children.